The Punch and Judy Pub sits in the heart of Covent Garden London. It is a famous pub with plenty of history! Starting with its name. The iconic 18th century pub with beer garden and balcony is in the heart of Covent Garden. Serving cask ales and traditional food in a family-friendly environment.
Covent Garden is famous for its theatres, street performers, bars, restaurants, pubs the Royal Opera house. It is a hive of people buzzing around from one shop to another and one of the most visited places in London. It is also famous for it beautiful pubs such as the ever popular Punch and Judy Pub
Visiting the Punch and Judy pub Covent Garden today everything you need to know
As Punch would of said ” That’s The Way To Do It!” The way to see Covent Garden is to visit this iconic pub. The Punch and Judy pub has a lovely feel to it and is the perfect place to go for a bite to eat or a nice British Ale. You can sit outside on the downstairs terrace or inside the traditional cellar room with its exposed brick walls. Inside the atmospheric cellar bar is mysterious and cosy in the winter.
The Punch and Judy pub in Covent Garden is also one of the best rooftop bars in the area too!
If you are lucky enough you can get a spot on the upstairs balcony overlooking the church. This is a great place to watch Covent Gardens street performers and people watch.
The Punch and Judy pub is ideally situated in the heart of Covent Garden near its many theatres and restaurants. The pub is a must see for tourists as you get a great feel of Covent Garden from above. Expect a real london buzz with traditional British food and drinks. It is advisable to book should you wish to eat there.
How did the Punch and Judy pub get its name?
The London pub is named after the first recorded Punch and Judy show in England in Covent Garden. Samuel Pepys watched the show in 1662 and he noted it in his famous diary. The pub was built later in 1787 and that’s when the pub got its name. It is a listed building in the heart of the Covent Garden piazza. It is also one of the few local buildings that escaped bomb damage during the Blitz in world war 2.
Who was Mr Punch the Puppet?
In the 17th century Mr Punch arrives in England with a puppet play that at times could be quite disturbing. Punch was first recorded in England on May the 9th 1662 by the diarist Samuel Pepys. He noted seeing it being performed by the Italian puppet showman Pietro Gimonde from Bologna ( also known as Signor Bologna )
Punch was first intended for adults, the shows have since been been adapted for children since the nineteenth century. Back in the day they were quite macabre and a bit gruesome.
Covent Garden Punch and Judy Plaque
The Punch and Judy Covent Garden shows origins are now commemorated in the form of a stone plaque. This plaque is found on the outside of St Paul’s Church opposite the pub. So that is why the Covent Garden pub became named ‘Punch and Judy Covent Garden.
The Plaque reads;
Near This Spot, Punch’s Puppet Show was first peformed in England and Witnessed by Samuel Pepys 1662
This notice caused to be inscribed by the society of theatre research and the British puppet and Model Theatre Guild 1962
Where is the Punch plaque?
The Samuel Pepys Punch and Judy Plaque is on the wall of St Pauls Church Covent Garden overlooking the piazza.
Pepys and Punch and Judy
Pepys usually referred to the shows as ‘Polichinello’, which is a name relating to Punch’s Italian roots. Comemedia Dell Arte is an improvised play with a number of masked characters. Samuel would watch a number of the Punch shows in all not just the first one butt often in the Covent Garden Piazza
Punch and Charles Dickens
There was lots of Punch and Judy controversy when Charles Dickens answered a letter of complaint and asking for help to ban Punch and Judy. His reply probably did not go down too well.
Dickens’s response to a letter in the 1840’s asking for help to ban Punch show;
“In my opinion the Street Punch is one of those extravagant reliefs from the realities of life which would lose its hold upon the people if it were made moral and instructive. I regard it as quite harmless and as an outrageous joke which no one in existence would think of regarding as an incentive to any kind of action or as a model for any kind of conduct. It is possible, I think, that one secret source of pleasure very generally derived from this performance is the satisfaction the spectator feels in the circumstances that likenesses of men and women can be so knocked about without any pain or suffering.”
Punch and Judy facts
- Punch later became famous for his audiences by the seaside. Victorian seaside resorts became the fastest growing towns in Britain in the latter part of the century thus making Punch and Judy shows very popular
- Before 1825 Punch’s wife was called Joan she then became Judy.
- Toby was usually played by a real dog.
- Punch and Judy puppeteers are known as Professors, and were apparently given permission to use this prestiguous title by the King.
- There used to be a Punch and Judy festival every October in Covent Garden
- Punch and Judy shows are referenced in Charles Dickens book the Old Curiosity Shop
What is the Punch & Judy Pub like?
The pub is now currently run by Greeneking pubs and serves food as well as a variety of drinks and beers. It is often busy with regulars and tourists and is well worth a visit.
It also has a down stairs cellar where they serve food and and upstairs bar overlooking the Piazza. There is also an outside beer garden in the Piazza.
What food do they serve in the Punch and Judy pub?
The Punch & Judy pub is a traditional English pub run by Greeneking.
You will find a full range of meals from pie and mash, fish and chips as well as various snacks. You can see the full Punch and Judy menu here
Where is the Punch and Judy pub?
The Punch and Judy Pub is in Covent Gardens Piazza over looking St Paul’s Church
The address is 40 Market Place Henrietta street Covent Garden WC2E 9RF
How to get to the Punch & Judy pub in Covent Garden
The closet underground train station is Covent Garden tube station.
It is also few minutes walk from;
- Holborn station
- Leicester Square Station
- Enbankment Station
Punch & Judy Pub Covent Garden food service times
Food is served every day from 11 am untill 10 pm .